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Airvault - a mediaeval city

The town of Airvault, which lies in the west of France in the region of Poitou-Charentes, is picturesque and full of mediaeval character. It has higgledy piggledy houses of different shapes and sizes and an ancient quarter with narrow streets and colombage (half-timbered) houses. Even the rooftops add to this picture of charming disorder, with some being of the sleek grey slate of the north, and others sporting the warm terracotta colours of the south.

Surrounded by beautiful countryside

Airvault is set in the lovely soft countryside of the Deux-Sèvres, which is characterised by rolling meadows and pretty rivers, and indeed the town lies on the banks of one such river, the River Thouet.

Airvault's Romanesque church

Airvault has a lovely Romanesque church, and also a couple of beautiful old chateaux which are all worth a look if you are in the town. There is a Museum of Arts and Traditions, which, true to its name, chronicles the crafts and traditions of the region and gives a fascinating and colourful account. You may even see pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, as the town lies on the old pilgrim trail and is still walked by the faithful today.

Shopping and dining

There is a good choice of restaurants in Airvault, and plenty of local specialities on the menu to try. Goats cheeses are produced locally, as are duck products. The town hosts a street market too, held on Saturday mornings, where fresh produce is sold among many other things, and which is a delightful place to be on a sunny Saturday! Do make it early though, as if you stay in bed too long you will find that all the best of the bargains will have been snapped up by savvy locals. Airvault has a good number of ordinary shops besides its market, and you can purchase almost all your day to day needs in the town. Most other amenities you will require are on hand here too, with banks, pharmacies and tourist information all available.

Airvault's Didgeridoo Festival

If you want a totally different (though, it has to be said, not traditionally French) experience in Airvault why not get yourself along to the Didgeridoo Festival held in the town each year! This is a vibrant and colourful event of which the town is very proud.

Out and about

A rural region such as the Deux-Sèvres offers endless opportunities to spend time in the fresh air, and to indulge in any amount of outdoor pursuits. Airvault has a summer swimming pool, tennis courts and many lovely tracks and trails for walking, horse-riding or cycling. There are opportunities for boating and fishing, on and in the lakes and rivers of the immediate countryside. (Fishermen... please see the tourist office to discover where to buy the permits. They are often available in corner shops or tabacs, but they are essential.) Golfers too can access their sport within easy reach of Airvault.

How to get there

It is very easy to travel to Airvault from the UK. If you wish to travel by air you have a choice of airport and several airlines, with Nantes, La Rochelle and Poitiers all within easy reach and offering direct flights from the UK. Nantes is served by GB Airways, Ryanair and Aer Arann; Poitiers by Ryanair; and La Rochelle by Ryanair, flybe and easyJet. The TGV also runs to Poitiers, making train travel simple and fast.

Property prices and availability in and around Airvault

Property in this region can offer extremely good value for money, although prices are rising due to increased interest in the area. There are many lovely properties, frequently in need of some restoration, and there are possibilities for buying within the town or out in the countryside.

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Airvault AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Airvault?

Airvault is located in the west of France, in the north-east of the Deux-Sèvres department.

Airvault Property Map


Poitou-Charentes Guide

Poitou-Charentes Property Map


Deux-Sèvres Guide

  Deux-Sèvres Map

Population: 3,200

Access: By air: Fly to Nantes, Poitiers or La Rochelle. By rail: The TGV runs to Poitiers, so you can make the journey by train beginning with Eurostar from London, changing to a TGV at Paris.

Economy: The economy is largely agricultural.

Interesting fact: It is claimed that the great French writer, François-Marie Arouet took the pen name of Voltaire from an anagram of the town's name of Airvault. This is not proven, though it is known that Voltaire's parents had property in or near to Airvault.

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